Skip to main content
Construction Insurance Bulletin


By May 1, 2012No Comments

Many buildings and homes have ladders for various purposes. Although they are useful, they come with many safety risks, and it is therefore important to take the proper steps to prevent accidents. For example, never leave stepladders or ladders unattended. If a ladder falls, passersby, children and even pets can be severely injured or killed. Whether the ladder falls or someone climbs on it, the results often include a hospital visit. Keep safety in mind at all times while using a ladder, and make sure the ladder is secure before climbing on it. Stabilizing it takes only a few moments, and the result yields a much lower risk for disaster. To make ladder use as safe as possible, consider the following suggestions:

  • Carefully analyze the ladder before using it. Look at all of the rungs, and make sure they are sturdy. If they do not have skid-resistant strips, attach some immediately.
  • Prop up the ladder in a way that makes the distance between the wall and base one-fourth of its length up to the support point.
  • Watch carefully for signs of splits and cracks. If rungs are bent, repair them prior to using the ladder. Bent rungs are very unsafe and should never be present above the lower three feet of the ladder.
  • While climbing up or down the ladder, always position the face toward it. Keep at least one hand on it at all times. People who perform ladder jobs requiring both hands should firmly secure themselves to it.
  • Although extension ladders offer additional reach, it is necessary to make sure the overlap is at least three feet. Be sure the rung locks are clicked into place securely.
  • Avoid using aluminum ladders near sources of live electrical currents.
  • Never open a stepladder halfway up. They should always be opened fully, and the braces must be locked tightly.
  • Make sure the ladder’s feet are on a dry and even surface. If a surface is wet or uneven, the potential for danger is heightened considerably.
  • Never climb higher than the ladder reaches. Absolutely avoid climbing so high that the hips are above the ladder’s final rung.
  • Avoid having more than one person on a ladder. It is also important to ensure nobody is standing directly below the person on the ladder. If the individual climbing it dropped an object or fell, the person below could suffer severe injuries.
  • Store all tools and equipment in a sturdy tool belt. This lessens the need to climb up and down the ladder multiple times.
  • Always read all of the instructions and warnings accompanying a ladder before using it.